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Bath-based tennis players relish home court challenge

 

Bath-based players will aim to make the most of home court advantage when the LTA’s Aegon Pro-Series tennis tournament gets underway at the University of Bath.

The competition starts today (2 November), goes on for a week later and is free for spectators.

Team Bath MCTA Tennis Academy player Richard Gabb is among the players to feature in the men’s main draw.

Richard Gabb - looking forward to playing on his home court

Richard Gabb – looking forward to playing on his home court

He had to progress through qualifying to reach the main draw of the 2013 tournament where he created a bit of a stir with a 6-2 6-4 victory over top seed Josh Goodall in the opening round.

Gabb progressed to the quarter-finals, where he went out to eventual winner Ed Corrie.

Gabb, now 22 and ranked at 629 in the world, said: “I’d hope to get into the semi-finals this time, after that anything would be a bonus.

“I always love playing here,” he said. “There’s always a great buzz around the centre when the tournament is going on, so it’s good fun.

Gabb said he wasn’t surprised by beating Goodall last time around. “I’d beaten him the week before, so I was quite pleased when I saw the draw,” he said. “I’ve improved massively since that tournament, especially mentally, but also with certain tweaks in my game.”

Gabb will learn his first round opponent on Monday night, but the men’s singles action gets underway with the qualifying rounds on Sunday (2 November). He also partners Jonny O’Mara in the men’s doubles.

There will also be plenty of local interest in the women’s competition. University of Bath student Alex Walker is now assured of a place in the qualifying draw for the women’s singles tournament.

Walker is a Sports Performance graduate and is currently studying Management at the University. It will be the first time she has played in the Bath tournament.

She is the reigning British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) women’s singles champion and helped the University team win the team title three years in a row.

Team Bath MCTA player Jessica Simpson also features in the women’s qualifying draw, while 16-year-old Eden Richardson has earned a wild card into the qualifying draw after winning the national under-16 title in August.

Meanwhile talented French teenager Oceane Dodin now starts in the women’s singles main draw instead of having to go through qualifying. The exciting 18-year-old French player, ranked 357 in the world, progressed straight to the main draw after the withdrawal of two Czech players, Denisa Allertrova and Barbora Krejcikova. Belgium’s Klaartje Liebens, ranked 320 in the world, also goes into the main draw.

 
 
 

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